My hunting journey began probably like most young people through my father. I had grown up around firearms, been taught respect, safety and most importantly the magnitude of shooting. It’s not something I took lightly, even as a child, but my father’s passion and love for his hobby had me wanting to know more. In consequence, I wanted to be taken to range days and shooting shows.
Most of my early experience, around age seven, was hauling bags, putting up targets and sitting around, learning. You’re basically a glorified pack-mule but a willing one! Getting into shooting when you’re young teaches you a lot about guns before you even fire one, it’s more of a natural progression and I knew by the time I stepped up to shoot I was more than comfortable and ready.
The shooting stand, the first step
Come 15, I was finally offered the chance to shoot, once the all-important ‘THE TALK’ (safety speech) had been completed and I had been deemed fit, it was game on. I remember it well, a nice little rifle! Finally, I was playing with the big boys, after I had worked my way up to this moment of getting to experience what it was really like.
First shooting a gun is great fun and adrenaline inducing, but I found it more humbling, knowing how much power I had in my hands; a dangerous but interesting feeling! In shooting, I’ve always been taught that you must respect the power but not be afraid of it. As I had guessed from my first shot, I was sort of hooked.
Over the next few years, shooting became a hobby, something for a fun afternoon and more importantly to bond with my father (not that we weren’t close, but there’s nothing like nerding out over a gun to get you on the same page). There is a lot to immerse yourself in when you first begin shooting, learning the new language all shooters talk in, how much wind can affect your shot, twist-rates, zeroing, mounts, groups I could go on but I’m still learning.
The hunt, the next step
Now I knew there needed to be a next step in my journey. Don’t get me wrong, going to the range to was a lot of fun, but I wanted more and thus I began the long decision of whether I wanted to be a hunter? I had once again been a spectator in this for most of my life, sitting out on crisp early mornings in warm parkas Browning Hell’s Canyon (first generation), waiting for that one moment and I had never been squeamish helping in gutting the deer or tracking them through the woods.
Hunting is a whole different conversation, one which my father and I have had many times, he needed to know that I knew the magnitude of what we were doing and how different it is to target shooting. Maybe I was a mature teenager, or I just had grown up around it, but I always understood. And it was a long time before I felt old and confident enough that I wanted to shoot a deer for the first time.
Patience, an important step
Admittedly, I am new to this journey and it is not a quick one; in fact, after knowing my desire to hunt for over a year now, still nothing has happened. We’ve been out twice now, and both times saw nothing, the first time I was kind of glad, as though ready it was still a big thing. The second, I felt a lot readier to do it, but once again nothing.
The Germans have a saying: ‘every day is a hunting day, but not every day is a shooting day; how right they are! However, each time we go out I get more experience with firearms, so fingers crossed; third time lucky?
But I now realise it isn’t something you rush and for good reason. I know it will happen some day and if it doesn’t and it comes down to it and I’m not ready to pull the trigger, I know that is right too! Because I’ve learnt most importantly no one or nothing should rush you or force you into doing something so momentous!
And you, what was your experience to become a huntress/hunter?